Kashan Rugs

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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Among authentic Oriental rugs, the Kashan rugs have perhaps the most consistent styling. A central medallion without exception dominates the motif. It is always flanked by a ground covered in tiny floral elements and edged by a border itself edged by two narrow rims in a contrasting color. The design is fine and delicate, and the coloring the palest of Persians.

The weave of Kashan rugs is especially fine. Most often the foundation--the vertical warp and horizontal weft threads onto which the wool knots are hand knotted--is cotton. In some instances the foundation is silk. The knots themselves are typically Persian, that is, asymmetrical. In the second most common knot style found in genuine hand knotted Oriental rugs, referred to as Turkish, the wool of the pile is laid across two warp threads and pulled under and up between them.

Colors in Kashan rugs are characteristically ivory, pale green, and red. Other colors are often used, but these three predominate. Given these refined colors, a thin and tight pile, and the delicate and regular precision of the Kashan design elements, the worst that can be said of these rugs is that they are sophisticated rather than dramatic.

Where Are Kashan Rugs Made?

The city of Kashan lies about 160 miles south of Tehran, toward the north of Iran, south of the Caspian Sea. Part of the greater city lies in a plain, and part in mountainous hills. A thriving city during the rule of Sassanides--the last dynasty to rule Persia before the Arab conquest in about 650 AD--Kashan is one of Iran's oldest. Archaeological excavations in the Sialk hills just over two miles to the west indicate that the area was home to prehistoric man.

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